FanDuel crosses the finish line
Virginia online sports betting is officially live. FanDuel was the first operator to launch in the state on January 21, after receiving a mobile sports betting permit through its partnership with the Washington Football Team.
first Virginian bet saw a mobile user wager $25 on the Golden State Warriors to beat the New York Knicks
On Thursday morning, the Virginia Lottery website listed FanDuel as a permit holder “in conjunction with the Washington Football Team (temporary permit).” FanDuel’s online sportsbook went live in the state at around 2pm on Thursday afternoon. The first Virginian bet saw a mobile user wager $25 on the Golden State Warriors to beat the New York Knicks.
The sports betting operator released a short video on its Twitter page announcing news of the launch:
A long list of other operators are still awaiting news of their own Virginia licenses. However, Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty indicated that other sportsbooks should follow FanDuel soon. According to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Hagerty said: “We anticipate more than one sportsbook will be in position to begin accepting legal wagers from Virginians in time for the Super Bowl.”
An opportunistic partnership
The Virginia Lottery announced it was reviewing a total of 25 applications for mobile sports betting licenses in November 2020. However, the lottery body can only issue a maximum of 12 permits. FanDuel can thank its partnership with the Virginia-based Washington Football Team for its own success.
The pair have maintained a partnership since 2014. Until now, FanDuel mainly used the deal to promote its daily fantasy offerings. According to Virginia sports betting law, the state lottery will give “substantial and preferred consideration” for permit approval to any major league sports franchise. This resulted in preferential treatment of FanDuel’s application.
The Washington Football Team is now the first NFL franchise to receive a sports betting license. While the law does not permit NFL franchises to provide sports betting themselves, they can engage a sportsbook to utilize their permit. FanDuel has so far not provided any details as to how it will share sportsbook revenue with the NFL team.
How did we get here?
Virginia has the 12th largest population in the US, and is now the 20th state to welcome sports betting since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. The commonwealth began its legal journey towards sports betting in 2019. However, attempts to introduce legislation were unsuccessful until last year.
Virginia sports betting legislation became effective on July 1, 2020
Lawmakers finally gave sports betting the green light by passing HB 896 and SB 384 last year. Virginia sports betting legislation became effective on July 1, 2020, before the Virginia Lottery Board approved regulation in September.
Under the legislation, sportsbooks must pay a $250,000 fee for a three-year license and 15% in revenue tax. The law prohibits betting on in-state colleges, and operators must use official league data to settle in-play wagers. The Virginia Lottery said it would vet licensed candidates on how much tax revenue they could provide and how many new jobs they could create.